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GOP Lawmaker Hands Out Grenades as “Gifts” to Colleagues in House

Congressman Cory Mills, a Republican from Florida, was recently assigned to the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep.-elect Cory Mills, left, talks with Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on the House floor after a vote in which McCarthy did not receive enough votes for Speaker of House on January 6, 2023.

A newly elected Republican congressman recently sent weapons of war as gifts to his fellow lawmakers.

Rep. Cory Mills (R-Florida), a freshman lawmaker who was sworn into office earlier this month, sent grenades that were manufactured in his home district as “welcome” presents to other GOP members of Congress. An accompanying letter noted that the weapons are “inert.”

“It is my pleasure to give you a 40mm grenade, made for a Mk19 grenade launcher. They are manufactured in the Sunshine State and first developed in the Vietnam war,” the letter from Mills said. “Let’s come together and get to work on behalf of our constituents.”

After news of the gifts was reported on over the weekend, a spokesperson from Mills’s office responded to critics by noting the grenades were “cleared through all security metrics” required at the Capitol. They also noted that it’s “very customary for new members of Congress to bring products from their home state,” and that Mills, who was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee, was attempting to live up to that standard.

The same spokesperson expressed regrets that they had missed the opportunity to capitalize on the free media.

“I just wish they tagged our official account,” the spokesperson said, referring to tweets that showed a grenade and Mills’s letter side by side.

Although weapons are banned in Congress, lawmakers are exempt from those rules. Fear of violence in the Capitol building remains, as the January 6, 2021, attack — orchestrated by hundreds of loyalists to former President Donald Trump — is still fresh in the minds of many Congress members.

Mills, a 2020 election-denier who has peddled the same false claims of fraud that Trump made after his presidential election loss to President Joe Biden, has stated his support for law enforcement using military-style force against Black Lives Movement demonstrators and expressed animosity toward investigators of the January 6 attack.

“No one should comply with the sham, partisan J6 committee,” Mills wrote in a tweet last year. “The January 6th committee is designed to hunt down Trump supporters and directly target the conservative movement! Do NOT COMPLY.”

Mills made headlines earlier this month for making light of the attack on former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) husband, who was bludgeoned with a hammer by an intruder in a home invasion that has generated right-wing conspiracy theories.

“Finally, one less gavel in the Pelosi house for Paul to fight with in his underwear,” Mills wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

Critics condemned Mills for handing out the grenades, with Rep. Jared Huffman (D-California) saying that Mills’s action was troublesome, especially in light of the relaxed security measures at the Capitol.

“[The] GOP removed magnetometers from House Chamber. We now have an honor system with extremists who flout rules, vow to take guns everywhere, hand out fake grenades & claim Biden’s election was fraudulent,” Huffman wrote in a tweet. “Honestly, I’m worried about security at [the] upcoming [State of the Union address].”

Democratic strategist Laura Chapin pointed out that giving grenades as gifts is disrespectful to people who have been the victims of such weaponry at the hands of the U.S. military.

“I went to the War Remnants Museum in Saigon and saw photos of shredded bodies, including children, caused by grenades and other weapons of war,” Chapin wrote on Twitter. This isn’t cute. It’s not funny. It’s not a metaphor. People like @CoryMillsFL are deeply sick.”

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